Marriott Hotel: Staycation Review

Thanks to influr.com and Marriott Hotel Singapore, I am currently on a weekend staycation at Marriott! 😀 Deluxe Room rates are at about S$390++ per night and I’m not surprised. The location is fabulous – right smack in the heart of the Orchard shopping belt. Now I’m torn between staying indoors and checking out the gym, pool and buffets, versus heading out and hitting the stores. And I’ll show you why…

My room on level 24! 😀

I love it when I am given more pillows than I’ll ever need. Hahaha! Good for pillow fights, maybe? 😀

Marriott Hotel Singapore

And you can imagine where I am blogging right now…

Marriott Hotel Singapore

The bowl of snacks is definitely a distraction. Thankfully, the prices are steep so I am not moved.

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Here’s the view from level 24. The cars look like little plastic models and I feel like a voyeur peeping into people’s homes. 😀

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Marriott Hotel Singapore

My eyes keep landing on the bowl of snacks. Gah. Strategic placement right across the workdesk and in front of the TV. 😛 Those KitKats are definitely tempting but it’s 245 calories per bar and cost S$5.50 each (twice the price you’ll pay outside)!!!

Marriott Hotel Singapore

The mini bar prices – if you’re curious:

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Lots of drinks, but I’m not about to touch any of them 😀

Marriott Hotel Singapore

The bathroom is a let-down. No bathtub! There’s a rainshower. And a vanity desk but… no bathtub. *Also, there’s just one toothbrush in the bathroom. Shampoo and bath foam come in really small bottles too – might be insufficient if you shower more often due to the hot weather.

Housekeeping staff came by around 6pm to give out Marriott horse plushies and top up anything we might need – from toilet paper to additional toothbrushes or mineral water bottles. 😀

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Marriott Hotel Singapore

I have hit the gym though, after checking in at 2pm. Review coming up next. 🙂

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Staying At Amoy Hotel and Exploring Chinatown

Singapore Chinatown

Chinatown

I enjoyed my stay at Amoy Hotel primarily because of its awesome location – Chinatown is a foodie’s paradise. Read my Amoy Hotel review here and a little piece on the Fuk Tak Chi Museum right here. I’d checked in on a Sunday, when most of the restaurants and shops around the hotel were closed. It was no cause for worry because just 5 to 10 minutes away is the rest of Chinatown where I can shop and mainly, eat to my heart’s content. So here’s a quick (and hopefully useful) guide to what to do / see / eat after you have dropped off your luggage at Amoy Hotel!

For the foodie:

In the immediate vicinity of the hotel are restaurants like Hock Lam Beef, Honzen Express and Sushi Tei (among others) – all of which I would recommend. For breakfast, you can also skip the hotel breakfast if it does not impress you and pop by Ya Kun Kaya Toast to taste what locals would eat – kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and a cup of coffee.

If you don’t have much time to explore other parts of Singapore for good food, then you are in luck! The newly-opened Chinatown Food Street brings together the best of hawker food around the island. Head over to the Food Street to try satay from Newton Circus, BBQ Chicken Wings from Chomp Chomp, Cheng Kee Hokkien Mee, Fried Oysters from Katong, and much much more!

Chinatown Food Street

Chinatown Food Street Oyster Omelette

Chinatown Food Street Hokkien Mee

Chinatown Food Street Fried Horfun

The Chinatown Food Street, at night:

Chinatown Food Street

At tea time, you can also head to Tong Heng for some very yummy egg tarts. I sure did. Just S$1.60 each:

Sri Mariamman Temple

To get to Tong Heng, just look out for the yellow signboard after you have passed the Sri Mariamman Temple:

Tong Heng Egg Tarts

* If you can afford the extra calories *

Try the very famous Lim Chee Guan bak kwa (barbecued pork slices) that locals eat mainly during Lunar New Year, but is available year-round. You can order just 100g of that barbecued goodness for a sampling or even consider getting 1kg to bring home to friends and family! [A kg usually costs about S$50]

Lim Chee Guan

For Dessert:

Head to Chinatown Point, where you will find, at the basement, Mei Heong Yuen Dessert, which is popular for its range of ‘snow ice desserts’.

Mei Heong Yuen Dessert

One other dessert place at Chinatown Point is Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert, which I would not recommend for their desserts, but their mains instead:

Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert Chinatown Point

I like their Braised Beef Hor Fun (S$7.90)

For the health-conscious foodie:

Pop by China Square Central (less than a 5 minute walk away) and head to the basement. At #B1-02 is LINS Smoodees where you can order green smoothies which are oh-so-yummy and so good for your body. Do try their herbal porridge as well, which I highly recommend. If you’re experiencing jet lag or just feeling under the weather, what you get at LINS will surely perk you up.

For the gym rat:

Amoy Hotel does not come with a gym, but just downstairs is the Evolve Mixed Martial Arts studio. Pop by for a workout if you will. A little further is True Fitness at China Square Central’s basement.

For the photography enthusiast:

If you like snapping pictures of temples and/or visiting them, there is the famous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the equally famous Sri Mariamman Temple (the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore).

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple

The Sri Mariamman Temple was constructed in 1827 and today, it is best known for the fire-walking ceremony, or Theemithi, that is held every October or November. Devotees would walk on hot coals as a test of their faith and devotion.

Other places of interest: 

The Singapore Coins and Notes Museum and The TinTin Shop:

Singapore Coins And Notes Museum

The TinTin Shop

For the shopaholic:

At Chinatown Point are some shops which may interest you. Fans of branded goods will love Luxury City where branded items (supposedly authentic, but of past seasons) are sold at a discount. Also visit the Adidas pop-up store if you would like to get some cheap sporting gear – for instance, you can get a pair of Adidas running shoes at just over S$60.

Luxury City Chinatown Point

Adidas Chinatown Point

*This list is by no means exhaustive of course. Just what I did after checking in at Amoy Hotel. 🙂 If you need more recommendations, feel free to approach the staff.

Chinatown

[*Reader Privilege* Amoy Hotel Promotion Rates: Get 20% off your room rates and a Free City Tour for 2 (worth $39.80)! CLICK HERE!]

Hotel Review – Amoy Hotel: A Haven For History Buffs

[*Reader Privilege* Amoy Hotel Promotion Rates: Get 20% off your room rates and a Free City Tour for 2 (worth $39.80)! CLICK HERE!]

I had the pleasure of a staycation at Amoy Hotel last week and I must say that I have never stayed in a hotel so rich in heritage and steeped in local culture – It’s located in Far East Square and the entrance to the hotel is via the Fuk Tak Chi Museum (originally a Chinese temple, and one of the oldest in Singapore)! The location of the hotel is significant, in that it was once the landing site of Chinese immigrants arriving by boat to seek better fortunes here. The hotel is also a great spot to begin exploring Chinatown from: read my guide HERE.

The friendly staff of Amoy Hotel:

Amoy Hotel Singapore

The guy in the middle is named April. I can’t forget his name, ever since I asked him about how he came to be named ‘April’.

Seating Area in the hotel:

Amoy Hotel Singapore

Sitting on the birdcage-like chair:

Amoy Hotel Singapore

There is a feature wall in the hotel lobby with the most common surnames / family names of early Chinese immigrants. And each room in the hotel has a different surname above the room number.

I found my family name outside Room 201:

Amoy Hotel Singapore

I stayed in a Deluxe Double Room, which had its space constraints. No effort was spared in making it a comfortable stay though.

Amoy Hotel Singapore

*I love the beautiful, white aircon cover. I’d also watched the first episode of the new season of ‘The Walking Dead’ in this room! 😀

The minibar was well-stocked with drinks and there was a coffee machine for coffee lovers too. April recommended the Caramel Oolong tea and I tried it – pretty good!

Amoy Hotel Singapore

I loved the rain shower too, though it was rather perplexing that the washbasin and a short walkway separated the shower stall from the toilet.

Amoy Hotel SingaporeYou’ve probably already spotted the awesome porcelain washbasin:

Amoy Hotel Singapore

*I love the attention to detail! Even mouthwash is provided! For those heading out into wet weather, there is an umbrella hanging by the clothes hangers, and everything from a clothes iron to a hairdryer can be found within the room.

There are a total of 37 rooms within Amoy Hotel and most of them (21, I think) are single rooms, so I asked to get a peep into one of them. Note that no two rooms are alike, in terms of furnishing and layout! So ask for a different room each time you stay at Amoy? 😀

A single room:

Amoy Hotel Singapore

I guess the only disappointment was the hotel breakfast spread.

Amoy Hotel Singapore

There was a small selection of breads and other pastries, mee goreng, sausages, bacon, cheeses, cereal, etc. And that was about it. I guess I was missing scrambled eggs. 😀 My stay commenced on a Sunday, so much of the immediate vicinity of the hotel resembled a ghost town – there are many restaurants nearby but all were shut on Sunday. I guess hotel guests who pick weekday stays will really love the convenience of just popping downstairs and having so many restaurants to choose from! I took a 5-10 minute walk to Chinatown Point and checked out other parts of Chinatown at dinnertime on Sunday.

My (small) hotel breakfast :

Amoy Hotel Singapore

My Thoughts About Amoy Hotel:

I expect a lot more from Far East Hotels because, for me, the brand is synonymous with great service, friendly people and all things luxurious. Amoy Hotel does not come with a gym nor a pool, so besides banking on its excellent location, it also has to deliver surprises to exceed each guest’s expectations.

I loved everything from the fancy washbasin, the lovely goodnight note someone put on my pillow while I was out for dinner, to the really comfortable bedroom slippers (I took a pair home, and also saw another guest wear those slippers to breakfast).

What could have been improved upon would be the attention to detail. If you scroll upwards to my picture of the breakfast spread, you’ll notice that the juice dispensers were almost out of juice. I would also have liked to be given some information about the history of the area. I don’t recall getting the complimentary newspapers either.

What would have really blown me away would be if the hotel managed to educate me (assuming I am a foreigner) on top of taking care of my comfort needs. For instance, if there was a small jar of Tiger balm or a miniature bottle of Axe brand medicated oil in the room, with a short write-up about what locals use these for (aches and pains, and headaches), Amoy Hotel would be a truly unforgettable hotel for me. I would also take those items home with me. 🙂

I guess the BEST time to stay at Amoy Hotel would be during the Chinese New Year period. It offers tourists and business travelers the opportunity to take in all the sights and sounds (and smells – good ones!) of the festive period, and still walk right back to a comfortable bed.

*Read my blogposts about the Fuk Tak Chi Museum at the entrance to Amoy Hotel, and the not-to-be-missed food places around the hotel, in the Chinatown area.

Hotel Information:

76 Telok Ayer Street S048464

info.amoy@fareast.com.sg / Tel: +65 6580 2888

[Book HERE for 20% off your room rate PLUS a FREE CITY TOUR for 2, worth $39.80!]

Also, check out the other Far East Hotels I have reviewed:

1) Oasia Hotel

2) Quincy Hotel

NudeAudio: The Cutest and Coolest Speakers I Own :)

When I was first introduced to NudeAudio speakers, I was stunned at how small and light they are. I brought the smallest one with me for my staycation at Quincy Hotel.

It’s great for playing some music while at the gym. With good music in the background, my workout is a lot more fun!

Size comparison with the Samsung S3 Mini:

workout with nude audio

Connect your devices via Bluetooth and have a great workout!

nude audio

Music lovers, rejoice! You can bring this portable Bluetooth speaker anywhere with you, even to breakfast:Quincy hotel breakfast buffet 

What I love most about NudeAudio speakers is that I can bring them outdoors with me, like when I go cycling…

Cycling with NudeAudio

NudeAudio on bike

Find out more about NudeAudio via Digital Hub’s FB Page + Redeem An E-voucher:

*Reader Privilege* Receive a NudeAudio e-voucher via this Facebook link: [updated link – previous one doesn’t work for some people] https://www.facebook.com/DigitalHubSG/app_445321688910236?ref=ts

Simply ‘Like’ Digital Hub’s Facebook Page then redeem your e-voucher at Elush, Infinite and Nubox outlets:

ELUSH
–       istudio @ Changi Airport T2
–       istudio @ Changi Airport T3
–       istudio @ Change Alley
–       istudio @ Orchard Central
–       istudio @ Paragon
–       istudio @ Plaza Singapura
–       istudio @ Novena

Infinite
–       Infinite @ Vivo City
–       Infinite @ Changi City Point
–       Apple Shop @ Best Denki Compass Point
–       Apple Shop @ Best Denki Century Square
–       Apple Shop @ Best Denki Clementi Mall
–       Apple Shop @ Best Denki Great World City
–       Apple Shop @ Best Denki IMM
–       Apple Shop @ Best Denki Junction 8
–       Apple Shop @ Best Denki Ngee Ann City
–       Apple Shop @ Parkway Parade
–       Apple Shop @ Best Denki Vivo City

Nubox
–       Nubox @ Tampines
–       Nubox @ Causeway Point
–       Nubox @ Jurong Point
–       Nubox @ Sim Lim Square

Bring your music everywhere with you! 🙂

Quincy: A Boutique Business Hotel In The Orchard Shopping District

I was invited for a staycation at Quincy Hotel and I wish it was a longer stay! 😀

If you don’t already know, Quincy is an award-winning hotel – Travelers’ Choice 2013 (tripadvisor), TTG travel awards 2013, etc. Quincy was also featured on CNN Travel as one of the ten best hotels to open in the recent years.

Quincy Hotel Singapore

Quincy hotel singapore

I was expecting very limited hotel room space, as the hotel is located in the Orchard shopping district, so near to all the malls I love, such as Far East Plaza! [For first-time visitors craving for some Japanese food, head to Far East Plaza, probably a 3-minute walk from Quincy, and visit Wasabi Tei #05-70. I love the cod fish served here!]

Quincy managed to delight me nonetheless. Here are the top 5 reasons why I like the hotel:

1) The proximity to all the shopping malls! Far East Plaza is almost a stone’s throw away. Paragon (for all things luxurious) is barely a 5-minute stroll away. The fiance and I even took a leisurely 25-minute walk (at night) to Plaza Singapura for dinner and to catch a movie (you can get there even faster by train – just 2 stations’ away).

2) The very comfortable bed, which is great for resting your feet after a long day of shopping (oops, I mean ‘work’). The rainshower and bathtub were lovely too. Plus, the toiletries from Molten Brown were certainly welcome! 🙂

Quincy hotel room

3) The open-concept wardrobe and full-length mirror. I appreciate open-concept wardrobes because damp towels get dry faster and no unpleasant smell will be left on my clothes.

Everything else that you could possibly require during your stay is also provided: iron, ironing board, hair dryer, shoe shine, even an umbrella (how thoughtful!). *Should you need a handphone charger, you can borrow one at the reception.

Quincy wardrobe

*I love full-length mirrors too*

Quincy hotel singapore

4) The indoor pool (located at the 12th floor), which has glass panels around two sides so you can check out the buildings opposite:

Quincy poolside

Underwater:

Quincy hotel Singapore - pool

5) The little surprises: ice cream machine, free tic tac candy, outdoor ‘chilling’ areas, and more…

Quincy hotel singapore

Quincy hotel singapore

Quincy hotel singapore

I also spent a bit of time in the 24-hour gym, though I didn’t quite have time for the sauna.

Quincy hotel singapore

Quincy hotel singapore

I found some favorites at the breakfast buffet: the roti prata and curry (surprisingly yummy!), spring roll, and the fried rice. There’s not much in terms of variety but there are so many food places along Orchard Road that you may just give the hotel breakfast a miss anyway.

The free WIFI in the hotel is great too!

Quincy hotel singapore

Quincy hotel breakfast buffet

Business travelers and those on holiday in Singapore will love Quincy for its proximity to shopping and food options in Orchard. You can shop till you drop, then head back to the hotel for a nice hot shower and a very comfortable bed. It’s quite simply… bliss. 🙂

And oh… everything in the minibar has already been paid for *wink*

Quincy Hotel – 22 Mount Elizabeth, Singapore 228517

Reservations: +65 64967699, reseasy@fareast.com.sg

Or make a booking online 🙂

The Casio Exilim JE10 – Good Enough For Holidays?

I went for a weekend staycation last week and brought the JE10 with me. I’d won the Oasia Hotel stay from this lucky draw and thought it’d be nice to celebrate the fiancé’s birthday at the same time. He brought me to Batam for my birthday so I thought I’ll bring him on a ‘holiday’ on his birthday too! 😀

I wasn’t sure of what the JE10 was capable of so I brought my DSLR too, just in case. [What? I’m a typical kiasu Singaporean – I’ll be the first to admit it] 😛

In this blogpost, like in the first one, I’ll show you the (unedited) photos I took using the JE10. And you can decide if this lil package (which retails at $299) is one you’ll want to invest in. 🙂

The obligatory picture of the welcome drinks. 😀

The Club Lounge. It ROCKS. Free drinks, free food, free newspapers.

I wore the red top the good people at Flaunt gave me. 😀 I’ve decided I really like the color red, after pink, of course.

I’ve never bought clothing from blogshops before ‘cos I worry (overly) about buying clothes in the wrong size or worse still, unflattering cuts. But the 2 tops I’ve received from Flaunt so far have impressed me with their quality though the first one came in the wrong size.  XD

Anyway, this camera is fairly decent for taking photographs of oneself, a.k.a. narcissistic camwhoring, as you can probably tell. Muahaha.

Imagine… eating breakfast HERE while enjoying the view and the breeze. One word: Shiok!

When we were shown to our Club Room, we got a shock, or three! I’d mentioned to the staff when making the booking that it was going to be the fiancé’s birthday and I’d thought they’d give him a slice of cake and that would be it. And boy, was I wrong. We received 3 surprises.

Surprise #1:

My eyeballs nearly left their sockets when I saw the bed. Rose petals! And towel swans! Plus a card too! I think he was shocked too, and to my amusement, kept chanting “Swan Lake! Swan Lake!” I don’t know why so don’t ask. 😛

I was happily snapping pictures of the bed when the doorbell rang. And slightly peeved, I flung open the door to see 4 of the Oasia Hotel staff standing outside and the first person was carrying a platter with a slice of cake and a candle on it.  Aww…

Then all 4 marched right in and sang the ‘Happy Birthday’ song.  Why are they so sweet?!

Surprise #2:

When the staff left, we checked out the room, and found the mini-bar and coffee maker behind the wooden paneling. 🙂 He was very happy to note that all the drinks in the mini-bar are complimentary. XD

The Bathroom:

If you watch the anime ‘Naruto’ like I do, you’ll understand that I’m doing the ‘Rasengan’ here:

He’s checking if I’ve washed my hair that morning. Muahaha. Just kidding. But I promise it’s the only (vaguely) lovey-dovey picture in this blogpost. Anyway, we’re wearing couple tees we bought after our crazily tiring Mount Kinabalu climb together.

Though I still insist that the camera jacket is capable of chipping nails because the screw at the bottom isn’t too fingernail-friendly, I have to admit that with this sling, it makes photo-taking that much more convenient. Such as when you’re in a toy store, want to toy around with the masks and snap a picture quickly without getting caught:

And over lunch, I realized that the JE10 can take some pretty good food pictures as well. You just need to get the lighting correct and the right angle.

Here’s his take (bear in mind he’s not a photographer nor a blogger)

And here’s mine:

With the exception of the feet in the background, I’d say this is an ‘ok’ picture for a blog. Mine, anyway. 😛 LOL!

We’d love to share but for now, you’ll just have to watch us eat. XD

After some window-shopping at the malls in Novena, we headed back to the hotel for a swim! We had barely gotten our toes wet when it started to rain HEAVILY!

The pink beach towel and bag were given to me by Elaine from Suma Beach Lifestyle. The towel is so pretty and very plush! 🙂 Want to win a blue and pink pair of these S$50 towels? Click here to find out how.

From 6pm to 8pm, the hotel also provided Club Room guests with complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. 🙂 Here’s what I got…

The mini beef burger and the ‘XO Scallop Vol au Vent’ (whatever it means) were the yummiest of the lot.

And not content with the interrupted swim, we headed for the heated jacuzzi after the light snack. It was a cool experience sitting in the jacuzzi while the lightning lit up the sky and the cold winds stung our faces. LOL

He said that, of all the facilities in the hotel, he loved the jacuzzi the most. 😀

We also hit the gym late at night. We were the only gymrats till an angmoh decided to join us. I love how the equipment is all so new and easy to use, as compared to the ones in the gym I usually go to.

The gym is painfully small though it has all the basics:

The pictures didn’t turn out too well here. Perhaps I was drunk. XD

Breakfast on Sunday morning was a cheery affair.  What they lacked in terms of quantity, they made up for with quality.

And finally, here’s birthday surprise #3, which they gave to us when we were checking out after breakfast…

It’s a framed photograph of us with surprise #1 and #2! 😀

The staff at Oasia Hotel have really pulled out all the stops to make this birthday a special one. And I believe each guest is treated the exact same way – I saw them preparing another slice of cake as I was leaving the hotel. I suppose the ‘choir’ will be going to surprise another delighted guest. 😀 I totally enjoyed the staycation and, forget Batam, I think I’ll celebrate my birthday in Singapore next year!

And yes, the Casio Exilim JE10 definitely deserves to come along for the next getaway, whether local or overseas. It’s small, affordable and once you get used to the various functions, it does take pretty good pictures. 😉